Vacation Rehab

I was so excited there was water on our vacation at Yosemite this year, because for many years our butts have scraped gravel while we tried to raft.

I pushed the stroller and carried Vivien up to Bridalveil Fall so she could take in the wonder of the huge, beautiful, glorious falls. See how excited she is? Yeah, that was worth the effort.

Vivien in Yosemite

When I called my sister Cecily on Sunday and she said, “I am so tired.”

“Thank God,” I said, “I thought it was just me.” I came back from my whirlwind, blended-family vacation in Yosemite and Mammoth on Friday the 4th, yet still felt pooped and hit the ground running with work Monday. Also, a National Park vacation means days of laundry upon return. I also had my assisted-living-bound dad over which takes some energy… and clean up.

What’s the vacation people come back refreshed from?

But it all went great. There were 11 of us: sisters, step-children and more. Hiking, biking… and we weren’t camping, we stayed in cottages. I CAN’T camp anymore, I’m too old. (God, then I’d really be tired.)

More favorable than the waterfall, later that day I asked Vivien, “How do you like your hot dog?” Here’s her response.

Vivien gives the hot dog a thumbs-up

Perpetual Fashion Critique

Look, here’s the first event we have gotten dolled up for together in a long, long time. The Poop (what a great name) had a pithy little posting about taking fashion critique shows and turning them on moms and dads. Since I do host a show where we rip on celeb fashion, I so relate. Yes, I too am often in my mommy track suit, but when it’s time to dress up, sharpen the fangs.

Daphne and Mark in NYC

I recently realized what an occupational hazard I have with this. I can’t turn off the Fashion Team brain. I am also in Star Magazine every week doing the jokes for Worst of the Week, so it’s like I can’t turn ever turn it off. Yes, I can be snarky, but I love when someone looks great.

My husband Mark Peel’s restaurant, Campanile, was recently nominated for Best Restaurant in the country for the James Beard Awards (the Oscars of dining). He lost to Gramercy Tavern, though he did win it in 2001.

Mark was fine with losing this year, and I was fine because it brought us to New York and allowed me to get dressed up with my husband. He spends five nights a week in chef’s white while I toil in my track suit, so good times. At these food events, Mark has plenty of old friends and such that he wants to talk with.  I want the free wine and food that goes with it. So I have learned to bring my best gay friend Michael with me. He is the perfect date. Mark likes him too, since then I am not saying, “Can we leave?”

Michael is fab and works in fashion so needless to say, we had a constant fashion critique going. Food people are not the toniest types, so there were some errors. Flips-flops at black tie event at the Lincoln Center, really? Two women thought that was okay. Then there are the re-used prom dresses. And, I’m sorry, but the bubble skirts need to stop.

But this year, people looked a lot better than when I went to the Beard awards in 2004, when I swear I saw nail art. There are also those who don’t have the figure of a model or the budget of one, but clearly made an effort, so good for them. By the way, Kim Cattrall co-hosted the event with Bobby Flay, and she looks great and committed like a pro to all the banal banter she was forced to say.

Now, there were about three women who we really thought looked great. And we made a point of rushing over to them and telling them, which always makes someone feel good. The last lady we championed ended up being the wife of the chef of Quince, a restaurant in San Francisco that I have heard nothing but good things about and wanna go to when I have my 36 hours of child free time in SF in August.

At midnight as the security guards were yelling, “Go home, this event is over,” to us and the other stragglers (I mentioned there was free food and drinks, right?), a sweet young man came up to me and said, “I noticed your dress earlier and I wanted to tell you how much I love it.” That made my night. He was a cooking student who was volunteering, and when I told him about Mark, he got so excited. He had written a paper about him, so I introduced them. And it proved we aren’t the only ones sizing up everybody’s fashion.

Even Fun Makes Me Tired

Here is Vivien in a dress that hasn’t been worn since the ’60s, as we were walking to dinner in Chelsea last Friday night. My brother-in-law Mark’s sister was in some kiddie beauty pageants and would get dresses as prizes. One dress was presented to her by none other than the girl who played Buffy on “Family Affair.”

Vivien in NYC

When I go to NYC, I always love it. The excitement, the energy… to a point. I have about 6 or 8 friends I really like to see out there, so even trying to see a few of them takes up some time and it’s stimulating catching up. Plus, I am often doing press for whatever TV show I’m on at the time–which is fun. This trip, most of my press calls were for Cool Mom. Also, I usually do a 48-hour child-free trip… yeah, I’m free and not gone so long I feel guilty.

This trip, I had 36 hours solo and then Mark and Vivien arrived. By the third night, I started to slow down. Mark went bar hopping with friends as Vivien and I met up with a friend at a nice restaurant, walking distance from where we were staying. (Sidebar: instead of a crazy-expensive hotel room we were lucky to be in a two bedroom apartment in Chelsea of friends who were out of town. The best.)

As we walked to dinner, Vivien said, “Mommy,” pointing to the sidewalk, “This is dirty.” I’m sure she was wondering, “When is the clean-up time?”

Um, that was Giuliani, I guess, and he only got so much done. I still saw not one but two gentlemen brazenly peeing on the street. And mind you, not homeless guys with shopping carts, but people who probably had an option.

Sadly, I figured out why I am still dragging even now that we have been back home for a bit. 1) I’m not a spring chicken and 2) I have to exercise. It does help my energy level. But if I don’t do it before 9 am, forget it. I like the recreational exercise of being home, not that constant walking-in-shoes-that-hurt NYC thing. It makes me so tired.

Hanging with Clifford The Big Red Dog!

Remember when you were in elementary school and you got to order your Scholastic books? Well, they are so much more than those sweet little anticipated books in your first-grade hands. They have a big, rad store in SoHo. Who knew?

Daphne at the Scholastic store in Soho

Next time you are in NYC, forget the tourists traps and go there. The beautiful, modern building is probably courtesy of Harry Potter, since they had a piece of that which has accounted for about 50% of their revenue. But, of great interest to me is their part in Clifford the Big Red Dog. They have a coin-operated Clifford. Which sadly wasn’t working. But it’s a big, beautiful, child-friendly book store.

Vivien and Mark reading at Scholastic

I had a meeting upstairs while Mark and Viv scampered downstairs. Nice to do something for Vivien before I dragged her to a few stores to shop. But I ended buying more stuff for her, per usual. It was an honor to wear a tag with Clifford on it. But that Chloe, she is such a pushy little dog.